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Bridge Fans, Scrabblers Converge For ‘Longest Day’ Fundraiser

Published: July 01, 2019 at 06:00 am

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Twelve hours, 400 players, and more than $9,000 later, the Newtown Bridge Club and organizers of its third annual Longest Day Bridge and Scrabble event, June 19 at Edmond Town Hall, can celebrate their efforts toward ridding the world of Alzheimer’s Disease.

According to the club’s 2019 Longest Day event Chairperson Linda Dale Mulholland, this year’s activity drew substantially more participants who opted to play in one of three sessions or who committed to participating for the duration.

“We beat last year’s donation by over $2,000,” Ms Mulholland told The Newtown Bee following the fundraiser, “and the money is still coming in through our website from family members, those who couldn’t make our event, and others whose lives have been touched by Alzheimer’s.”

The local bridge club volunteer said donations through newtownbridge.org can be made through the end of July.

Three years ago, the club decided to hold an invitational bridge playing activity with proceeds benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association because it was a medical condition, “that has touched the lives of virtually everybody, whether it’s a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker,” she said.

“And with the popularity of it, and the willingness people have to travel long distances to play together, we decided to add Scrabble to the bill,” Ms Mulholland said, adding that 41 “Scrabblers” came to Edmond Town Hall for the 2019 activity.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), on June 21 — the summer solstice — people across the world participate in various fundraising activities to help fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. Together, they use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support, and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Since the summer solstice is the day that provides the most light, it is commonly referred to as “The Longest Day.”

Ms Mulholland said complimentary breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare was all provided thanks to donations from nearly 30 local markets and food service establishments.

Throughout the day, the event kept 58 foursomes engrossed in Duplicate Bridge play, while seven additional tables were reserved for Social Bridge players. Whether they stayed and played for all three sessions or a single or double session, organizer Cornelia Guest saw each of the 41 visiting Scrabblers donate up to $100 to participate.

Both newcomer and NASPA-rated Scrabble tournaments were held, while a few tables of players engaged in non-tournament games for fun.

While Bridge fees were $15 per Duplicate session and $10 per Social session or Scrabble session, Ms Mulholland said she was pleased to see how many participants simply made a $100 donation to participate for the entire day.

A pre-evening session dinner, served in the Alexandria Room, came with live music provided by SJK Jazz — a foursome of musicians from greater Danbury. As volunteer Sue Bloomberg served up dishes of pasta and chicken, she shared that a close relative was recently grappling with Alzheimer’s, inspiring her to help in any way she could.

“It’s incredible to see how supportive this community is,” said Ms Mulholland. “And nearly everyone who was approached for donations of food, beverages, or snacks gave generously. But it’s not surprising because I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched in some way by Alzheimer’s.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 65 seconds, someone develops the disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Today, 5.8 million Americans are living with this Alzheimer’s, and it is estimated that by the year 2050, this number will rise to 14 million.

Sadly, as scientists and medical experts work to find a cure, one in three seniors will succumb to Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 145 percent — taking more lives than breast and prostate cancers combined.

Newtown Bridge Club holds five ACBL-sanctioned duplicate bridge games every week at Edmond Town Hall: Mondays at 12:30 pm, Tuesdays at 12:30 and 7 pm, Wednesdays at 10 am, and Thursdays at 12:30 pm.

In addition, bridge lessons are offered on a regular basis for players of all levels. For more information, contact Club Manager Susan Fronapfel at 203-733-8525 or visit newtownbridge.org.

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